I recently read the book This I Believe, a collection of essays taken from the NPR program initially launched by Edward R. Murrow in the 1950s. Naturally, this prompted my own reflection on what belief I would want to proclaim to the world in 200 words or less.
In my short life, I have witnessed some of the worst acts of human degradation. In Bangkok, I worked with sex slaves and saw women and children who were victimized daily by men in ways that could only be mentioned in hell. I met 18 year old girls that had undergone complete hysterectomies because STDs had ravaged their insides. I witnessed men take little girls by the hand and lead them into hotel rooms. I listened to women tell of the endless sexual violence and abuse they endured nightly only to receive $10 on payday.
In Ghana, I saw 4 year old children scooping water out of boats for hours without eating a single meal. I saw children sleeping on the ground with scorpions while their masters slept on a bed within four protective walls. I heard these children’s stories of repeated abuse, and touched the scars that were on their heads and backs from being beaten with oars or pushed into open fires.
After sharing these stories with people, I often am asked, “How can you not lose hope when you see such immense suffering?” The answer is simple. The answer is because of you.
When those former sex slaves or child slaves would run to me and embrace me and I would look into their eyes and kiss their faces, I never forgot for a moment where they had come from. Their hope, their joy, their laughter, their dreams, their very life was a miracle in itself. They were products of someone’s great mercy and compassion. Some human, somewhere, made it possible for them to be free…to sleep in a bed with a full belly and wake for school each day. Some human made it possible for them to feel safe, loved, and wanted. And that is why I do not lose hope when I see injustice. Someone, somewhere is making justice possible every day. And I am very grateful for that someone. I am very grateful for you.